Penwell-Gabel Cemetery & Mausoleum

Location:  About 6th and Gage in Topeka, Kansas.  It’s caddy-corner from Gage Park and across the street on 6th from the AAA Offices and Atria Hearthstone retirement home.  It’s hard to miss–and this is coming from a seriously directionally-impaired woman.  (I once got lost in a town with three streets.  Seriously.)

Cost:  Free, unless you’re staying.

Efrit and Peanut in front of the fountain/pond at the cemetery on a bright and sunny day.

Efrit and Peanut head over to the pond.

It sounds macabre, but one of the neater places to go and feed the birds in Topeka is the cemetery at 6th and Gage.  There’s a pond with a big fountain in it that’s inhabited by ducks and Canada geese; the park is well-kept and open, and sometimes there are tons of geese wandering through there as well.  There’s a gazebo and walking paths around the pond, a convenient parking area, and a board with photos and information about waterfowl.

Aside from the joy of feeding the critters–you do have to bring your own food, by the way–there’s the auditory stimulation of the fountain and the animals’ own noises.  The rocks around the pond provide texture (and a fair amount of bird poo, so be careful), and the area’s pretty wide open, so it’s easy to navigate. 

A carved tree by the pond at the cemetery; it has 3D images of birds in flight.

The carved tree by the pond with its birds in flight.

Penwell-Gabel has also followed the trend of carving trees when they die rather than removing them, so there’s a huge tree next to the pond with 3D carvings of birds in flight–it’s a tactile paradise.  (There are other carved trees through the park if you care to wander to find them.)

This is a popular place for families to come who want to feed hungry waterfowl–so sometimes the critters are hungrier than others.  Peanut was not only able to see the birds, but he also enjoyed chasing a couple of geese who chose to wander over towards the pond.  (Given that both Efrit and I have been chased by geese in the past, we figured that turnabout is fair play.)  Canada geese are a nice, high-contrast, big, honking bird against the green grass of the cemetery lawn . . . it gave Peanut some good practice with tracking moving objects–while moving, even!

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